We recently had a friend of ours pass away. He was young, but had been battling some severe health issues and toward the end of this year, they took a serious turn for the worse. He was in and out of the hospital for a couple of months, and then just in the hospital for the last three months or so. There were times when we’d see God’s amazing provision of grace, and other times where we just wondered what God was doing. The truth is, we may never know why there were so many ups and downs during his battle.
Toward the end, his wife said to us that her husband had such peace with God, but that she just didn’t feel it. She didn’t understand how he could be okay with everything that was going on. Whether he survived his bout, or was called home, he trusted that God had him, and his family, secure and that regardless of the outcome all would be well. His wife insisted that God could not take her husband. He couldn’t take him and leave her to deal with the aftermath. Our friend had peace with God. His wife contended with God.
Our friend trusted God regardless of the outcome. His wife demanded a certain outcome and insisted that things simply would not work any other way. Our friend was surrendered and at peace with God. His wife contended with God, and we very often find ourselves in that place. Having peace with God doesn’t come naturally. When the tension rises in our lives we resist, we argue, we barter, sometimes we kick and scream and make demands. We often think of the tension as opposition or punishment because our expectation isn’t being met … and after all, isn’t God here to give us what we want? God’s ways are much higher than ours. His purpose is far greater than the limitations of our own lives. When he moves, it’s for our good, and for the good of others – even when we don’t see or understand.
Our friend’s wife is learning a lot about God’s grace, and finding peace with God as little by little she surrenders her will to His. She’s come a long way in a very short time. She is learning to wrestle with grief before God rather than wrestle with God over her grief, and she is finding healing. We can learn a great lesson from her. When the tension in our life is deepest and most painful, the experience is far more intimate and powerful. Jesus does not give as the world gives. His peace passes our capacity to understand it, and when we have peace with God, we will never be shaken. Until we arrive there, at that place where trust and praise is our default response, we will work out our salvation with fear and trembling … in the presence of the Lover of our souls. It will be a battle for us, and we will have to discover the beauty and majesty in our pain. Everything we experience is touched by God. We will see it when we trust and surrender. There we find peace, and power, and victory.